>> 5/29/13

24 Reed Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 643-2722

Somewhere on the quality spectrum between Bubba Gump and Red Lobster lies Brooklyn Crab, a massive restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, across the parking lot from Fairway, that has yet to meet a salt water creature that it didn't want to deep fry. Brooklyn Crab is famous for its long lines. Friends who've been there before me waited two hours for a table and I've heard of waits of up to four. Why anyone would stand on a Red Hook sidewalk for as long as it takes to drive to Cape Cod is beyond me, but on this occasion, we didn't wait at all. We also got there at 4 in the afternoon.

I'd showed up with Emma, Captain, and some of their friends after an unsuccessful drive through Brooklyn hunting for any open flea markets. Long story. We eventually found our way to Red Hook, a picturesque and isolated part of our most populous borough. Emma suggested Brooklyn Crab the previous night, and I was gung ho about going. Brooklyn Crab has been on my list ever since being warned about how over-hyped it was. I just needed to see for myself. As I said though, there was no wait on this particular excursion. We were led upstairs to a large table by some very pleasant staff and presented with menus that were shockingly expensive; some entrees working their way into the $40s. Average entree prices were in the $20s, unless you count sandwiches, but that's too much. 

Captain and one of the as-yet nameless friends ordered a bowl of New England Clam Chowder, which was a little too reliant on potatoes but which wasn't bad in any respect. This was followed up with a round of Fried Calamari. Unfortunately, the calamari was thoroughly forgettable and just like any other fried calamari you've ever had this side of an Arthur Treacher's. I was impressed by Emma's PEI Mussels, served in a traditional white wine and garlic broth, but I do wish that there was a little more broth. Make that a lot more broth. But the mussels were large and not filled with sand. My appetizer was the Crab Bites, which were basically four or five little balls of fried crab cake. The best part was the spicy "Cajun" dipping sauce that it came with, but I can't give too many raves to the crab bites themselves... especially not for $13. There was also a Caesar Salad but the plate was too far away for me to stick my fork in it. So far, everything we ate could have been bought in the frozen food section from the supermarket across the street and we'd never have been able to tell the difference.

The one who was most impressed with his entree was one of Emma's friends, who ordered the Crab Roll. Shredded crab meat, lemon, mayo, chives, and Old Bay on a hot dog bun. And yes, having taken a bite, it was pretty good. It was certainly better than my meal, the 1.5LB Snow Crab cooked in a "spicy boil" and dusted with "southern spices". I burned more calories trying to get through the rubbery shell to the meat than I consumed from eating it and what little I got came with the odd taste of cayenne and salt water. I buried most of the few bites I could get my hands on in butter while cursing at a wasted $26. Never again. I did enjoy the corn on the cob though. Emma enjoyed her Atlantic Sea Scallops, a big bucket of big scallops, deep fried (of course) in a thick batter. Everything is better in batter, they say, and at least she got a lot of food. I asked Captain how his Wild Atlantic Cod fish basket was. "Well, it's deep fried white fish with french fries. So I can't complain." 

For dessert, we were all pretty full, but, as a table, decided to order the Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pie and a Cheesecake. I raved about Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies (also in Red Hook) a while ago, so naturally, this got my seal of approval. The cheesecake was good too, albeit the raspberry compote they used was way too sweet (and there wasn't even that much of it). Captain enjoyed his Root Beer Float. I didn't drink any, so let's all take his word for it.

Six appetizers, four entrees, a side of broccoli, three desserts, two pitchers of sangria, two glasses of wine, two beers, and four sodas came to just a bit over $250 before tip.

I can't see myself recommending Brooklyn Crab to anyone but those with time to kill and money to burn. It's fun in a theme park sort of way, but not in a real restaurant sort of way. If you're shopping at Fairway and want to leave your car in the same spot while you grab a basket of fried seafood, then you should definitely go. Otherwise... If you want an excuse to travel to Red Hook, I recommend Fort Defiance, if you want outer borough seafood, I recommend London Lennies, and if you want to drink outside in the summer, may I suggest a beer garden like Bohemian Hall or Berry Park.

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